Elon Musk Pumps The Brakes On One Of His Big Twitter Moves

The world's richest person, Elon Musk, secured a 9.2% stake in Twitter last week. The news of Musk investing roughly $3 billion in Twitter instantly took the world by surprise — and Twitter's stock value witnessed an instant upturn. Within the next few days, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal announced Musk would be joining Twitter's board of directors, leading to more speculations and expectations about changes Musk would make to the social media platform. However, in a topsy turvy sequence of events, Agrawal has now confirmed Musk will not join the Twitter board.

In a note to the Twitter team, the CEO wrote Musk's appointment to the board was supposed to become effective April 9, but Musk said he would not be joining that same day. Agrawal added Twitter is always open to its shareholders' suggestions, and Musk's input is always welcome, with him having the most significant stake in the company. The changes were also filed with the US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Musk's role in Twitter is decisive

The real reason behind Elon Musk's about-face is unknown, but Reuters notes his appointment to the board would have prevented him from buying more than 14.9% stakes in the company. Meanwhile, Musk has been tweeting about the changes he'd want to implement on Twitter. The biggest and the most consequential change was the introduction of the long-awaited edit button. Soon after purchasing his stake in the company, Musk ran a poll on his account, asking people if they wanted an edit button, and 74% of people voted in favor. In a subsequent tweet, Twitter's CEO said the polls results would indeed be important.

The following day, the company officially confirmed it was finally working to bring the edit button to Twitter. The feature, however, will only be available to select users through its subscription service, called Twitter Blue. Twitter users have always been divided on the implications of the edit button, with some getting flustered by typos in vital tweets. Others prefer how the lack of functionality keeps Twitter raw and original, and tweets set in stone — unless, of course, they're deleted.

Is Twitter really dying?

Despite last week's announcement about Elon Musk's appointment to Twitter's board, he was still seen satirizing the platform with memes. After his decision not to join the board, Musk chided the platform while asking "Is Twitter dying?" The Tesla and SpaceX chief said he believes so because Twitter accounts with leading followers count — including celebrities Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber — have not tweeted in several months. Considering his own frequency of tweets, it does seems unlikely he firmly believes the platform is dying. Even before the development, Musk had repeatedly criticized Twitter. Before he acquired his Twitter stock, the most recent remark came in the form of condemnation for "failing to adhere to free speech principles." Musk tweeted that Twitter's lack of commitment to free speech "fundamentally undermines democracy" and questioned the need for a new platform to replace Twitter.

It is possible that Elon's frenzy may have been inspired by his own tweet and response by a user, @AdamJoshDotCom, who suggested buying Twitter stock to make changes he envisions for the platform. Twitter's instant assent for an edit button is proof this may have been a plausible solution.

What lies ahead for Twitter and Elon Musk?

What lies ahead for Twitter and Elon Musk is quite murky, but the company's CEO warned of "distractions" in his announcement about Musk's decision to stay off the board. Whether Parag Agrawal is hinting at Musk interjecting in the decision-making is unclear, but he wrote the decisions will be in the board's hands and "no one else's." Despite what Agrawal says, Musk's impact is undeniable — whether that comes through a suggestion to the board or an abrasive tweet. Musk has not only built a personal brand for himself — and his companies, despite minimal advertising spends — but has also hyped the value of commodities, such as dogecoin, that were otherwise seen as frivolous by simply tweeting.

While Musk hasn't tweeted Twitter or any of its executives since Agrawal's announcement that he would not be joining the board, his proposal to build a Twitter alternative may not be taken lightly. However, building a new and equally alluring platform may not be as easy as it seems. Companies including Google have been unsuccessful in their odysseys, while unmoderated platforms such as former president Donald Trump's Truth Social are reportedly slogging with too much manipulative content. The most optimal way for Musk would be to have an ultimate rein in Twitter's decision-making process, something that may have been curbed by him not joining the board.